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What should be covered under basic car insurance policies?

Memphis, TN |

I got in a car accident, and just have basic insurance, but my insurance company seems to be trying to not cover things that I think should be. What should be covered in a basic insurance policy?

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Attorney answers 3


You need to look at your policy; what is sometimes referred to as a declaration page.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


Unfortunately, there is no pat answer. Different people interpret "basic insurance' differently. I suggest you start by calling your insurance agent. If you are not satisfied with the answer, talk to a local personal injury lawyer, who will be able to look at your actual policy and tell you what you bought. Good Luck

Allen W. Cohen

Allen W. Cohen


If your own insurance policy carries personal injury protection coverage or medical payments coverage, it will pay for your medical bills and/or wage loss without regard to fault, up to the limit of the coverage that you have purchased.


Insurance coverage in Tennessee is similar to insurance coverage available in most states. There are several types of coverage which are important to protect you.

First, know that liability coverage is important, but it only protects you when you are at fault and cause harm to someone else. It does not generally cover you when someone harms you - their liability coverage does.

Second, collision coverage, which is one of the more expensive types of coverage, is useful, but it covers situations where property damage is done, regardless of fault. This would include the situation where you park a car, and when you come back a tree branch has crushed your windshield. Property damage covers you in situations where you cause harm and it damages someone's property. Some policies are written to allow you to recover for damage to your own property as well. You should also look to see whether the property damage has provisions which allow for a rental car. Give yourself enough to provide 30 days of car rental in case your car is damaged and you need some time to secure alternate transportation.

Third, the best advice I can give is to make sure you have as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can get. In Tennessee, you get it automatically when you purchase liability coverage. It is the least expensive coverage, and also the most useful, because it protects you when someone else harms you and they 1) have no insurance, and or 2) have insurance but it isn't enough to cover your losses. In Tennessee, under insured and uninsured motorist are the same thing. In any event, Tennessee requires that drivers carry a minimum of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per incident, but keep in mind this is the minimum. These days, that kind of coverage doesn't protect you from any significant loss, so purchase as much insurance as you can reasonably afford.

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